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Enthusiasm never stops


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AVR programmer using Bifferboard as a GPIO hardware interface

If you don’t have time to read on, here are the solutions which I’m aware of:


…read on if you are interested in the story of the above solutions and how they came to the world.

The open-source community is very strange by its nature. Motivating people to work for free is not a straightforward task, as you’ll see from the following story.

I needed an AVR programmer as I’m switching from Microchip to Atmel AVR microcontrollers, because their toolchain is free and open-source. And they also match the price and features of Microchip in general, at least for my needs. I didn’t want to buy any hardware programmers, as I already had the Bifferboard which supports GPIO.

So I decided to code an AVR programmer in Perl myself, for fun and education, and because the C code of avrdude seems too unclean and lacks documentation. That’s how biffavrprog was “born” and I offered it to the Bifferboard mailing list. You can review the thread about it.

You’ll notice that shortly after that, like about an hour later, I was criticized about why I re-implemented it all in Perl from scratch. Many valid arguments were mentioned, I explained my reasons too, but the most important lesson here is that… After a day, Radoslav Kolev developed a patch for avrdude, later on Biff made it faster, and in the end I managed to get the community involved in something of which they were only thinking doing “some day”.

An interesting way to inspire the open-source community… 🙂

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